Planning (Another) Channel Incentive Program? Read This First!


Vendors often think they’re doing everything right when it comes to planning and implementing channel incentive programs. After all, isn’t the important thing just to have these programs? Isn’t it then the reseller’s fault if the programs are not successful? NO! At a certain point, vendors need to closely examine why their incentive programs aren’t working. When they do, I suspect they’ll uncover certain common errors, repeated again and again.

  • Overly complicated or restrictive terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for incentive programs should be simple to read and understand, and realistic in scope. While all businesses are wise to ensure that rewards given to partners are deserved, you’ll lose cooperation before the program even begins if you set up the reseller to lose.

  • Keeping your eye on the (short-term) prize

Incentive or reward programs that last for six months have their benefits—but they also have a major drawback: They only last six months! This means that almost as soon as the infrastructure is put in place, it’s time to move on to the next program whether the short-term goal has been met or not. Vendors would benefit by establishing programs that have longer-term goals in mind.

  • Failure to communicate

Ah, that “c” word again… But you may be surprised to hear that many resellers aren’t even aware a program is in place! Vendors need to clearly and consistently communicate with partners to let them know of new programs and how to use them for a mutual benefit.

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